May 12, 2014

Starting from Scratch

Dear Mom,
It was really great to talk to you last night. It's interesting because a lot of the other missionaries found it kind of distracting/emotionally difficult, but for me it just felt nice and it was really refreshing but I don't feel particularly distracted by it at all, which is perfect :) I feel bad for the two elders in our district who are going home in two weeks, I think that would be BRUTAL to try to re-focus afterwards.
So this week seriously just felt like Heavenly Father pressed the "smite" button on our area. I'm sure we were responsible for a lot of it, but seriously, it was kind of surprising. President Leavitt has really been focusing on "giving the work more throttle," and so with that, we were definitely both more obedient and focused and cut out a lot of dead time that happens in missionary work. But I think we were doing it too much to show everyone we were giving more throttle, and not because we had a proportionate increase of faith and desire to invite people to come to Christ, and that's what caused the problems.
So on Monday we had a good P-day, and then we stopped by Natalie, a really awesome potential the Elders met the previous week. She was so excited to see us and set up an appointment right away to teach her and her son. (Her husband is really busy with work, but wants to find a church to go to.) So, that was awesome. We then spent the rest of the evening knocking. Dieppe seriously looks so much like Shawnessy and Evergreen compared to the rest of the Maritimes. It was weird. I guess the only other notable thing about Monday is that Sister Lewis spent pretty much the entire day not talking, which turned out later to be for benign reasons, but it stressed me out. Which leads us to Tuesday.
On Tuesday we had a conference call during companionship study with the sisters, which was a pretty bold call. We talked about being more committed to baptism, having real key indicators, and being more obedient. There were seriously so many things on exchanges where we were just like, "...whaaaaaaat???" After studies and lunch, we taught Ashley some of the new member lessons with Sister Pitre, which was pretty good. It's kind of hard because Sister Pitre is such a good fellowshipper that it makes it hard to actually teach, but she expects to be brought along at this point. After that, we tried to go street contacting by walking around the mall and the Riverfront, but NOBODY was out. And Sister Lewis was starving and I was stressed out still, so we went to McDonald's and I got ice cream, and then we toured Ste Therèse, one of the Catholic churches in Dieppe. It was a pretty interesting experience. There's only two in Dieppe, so we figure if we can be familiar with them, we can be more personable with the people here. After that, we went park contacting in Saint Anselme park because it was actually WARM for once, and then we came home and had dinner. During dinner, I finally managed to communicate to Sister Lewis that I was stressed and why (she's even worse about talking about her feelings than I am), so we had to have companionship inventory for a while. Ha. After that, we felt kind of stuck because the Moncton elders were borrowing our car, and we didn't really have time to go DO things in Dieppe before we'd have to bus home. Fortunately, the Dieppe elders were willing to pick us up and drive us in, so we went knocking for the rest of the evening, but it was definitely a less productive day.
On Wednesday we had studies, then taught Stephanie a recent convert lesson. We went over eternal marriage and she brought up this guy in the ward she's dating, which makes us feel awkward every time, haha. Then we went contacting by the riverfront, and managed to walk to the ends of the earth and back, and then we went to teach Joshua his last lesson about tithing before his baptism. We got there and ended up planning the baptism with his mom. After that, we were crunched for time because the Moncton elders had a DA with these members that live on the other end of the earth, so we had to pick them up, drive them to Hillsborough, drive back in to Riverview for our DA, drive back into Hillsborough to pick them up, and then drive them back in to Moncton. And the members we had a DA with are the type that are impossible to get out on time. And Sister Lewis REALLY had to use the washroom. Haha. It was a total gong show. We got back with not very much time left, but we went knocking in Dieppe for the rest of the evening.
On Thursday we had skype interviews with President in the morning, which were really good. I asked him about how to not get burnt out, because I find that on my mission, I'll just do EVERYTHING for a few weeks and then be EXHAUSTED for a few weeks, and he was like, "I can totally relate to that. You have to learn to pace yourself." Which was cool because the blessing a few weeks ago specifically said to ask him for advice because he could relate to me. It was also nice to hear directly from him that "pace yourself" and "more throttle" can actually work together. The only thing is that Sister Lewis really CAN'T pace herself --she's either at 150% or 0% -- and since she was motivated, she was at 150% this week, so we've been working on that. After the skype interview, we went home for lunch and language study, and then we did tons of finding. We just did the usual riverfront contacting, but it was great. The only downside was that our lesson with Natalie fell through. We ended up going to see Judith though, and she committed to come to church, which was awesome! That marked the beginning of "everyone dropping us ever" though. After that, we went knocking for a while, and then had supper. After that, we had a lesson with a less-active, where we feel we really started to get to the root of some concerns. She's kind of using "I haven't received an answer about the Book of Mormon yet" as an excuse to not make life changes, which obviously is going to make it hard to have the real intent to get the answer. So we felt good about that lesson. After that, we contacted a referral, who closed the door without even letting us talk, haha, so we just went knocking for the rest of the evening. During the knocking, Sister Lewis started feeling SUPER sick, but she pushed through it and we knocked out the evening anyways, which was really impressive of her.
Friday was weekly planning. Sister Lewis still felt super sick, so towards the end I finished the more paperwork-y sections on my own while she rested, and then I basically called everyone in the area book ever. I actually enjoy phone contacting though, so that was okay. After that, we had a lesson with Brandi, which was really great. She's English, but we left her with a French Book of Mormon to read because we were out of English ones, and we came and she was like, "I didn't read a lot because the French was hard," and we were like, "That's okay, we brought you an English one, how much did you read?" "I'm on page 56." WHAAAAAAT???!!! :) That was a great moment. We taught the Plan of Salvation and it went over pretty well, but she wasn't really feeling prepared to be baptized by May 31. She just has a lot of concerns with committing herself to such a big change and worrying about how it will affect her socially, like finding someone to date within the church or how being part of a church community would feel. So it ended up being a super long lesson since she brought up all those concerns at the end. So afterwards, we didn't have our car because the Moncton elders had it AGAIN, and we realized that we'd forgotten to remove our apartment keys from the key ring. So we couldn't go home and have beef dip sandwiches. We ended up walking all the way to Champlain mall to eat, and we didn't even talk to anyone! Totally lame moment. The elders picked us up from the mall to go to Sports Night, so all in all, it was a very "not real missionary work" day.
Saturday started off with the French skype call and the ZL skype call, which was great, and then the elders wanted to film a "virtual church tour." Their theory is that we'd film each room, put it on Facebook, and use it to introduce people to the church building. It's a great idea, it just took sooooo long and it was frustrating because we still had nothing going on in our area for the whole week. We finally got out to contact after a late lunch, and I believe it was raining, so we went knocking because nobody was on the streets. It was a good time though because Sister Lewis and I figured out a lot of stuff about the difference between her motivation and mine (I need President Hinckley saying "Try a little harder to be a little better" and she needs Elder Holland saying, "We want an ambulance to meet you at the airport!!!!!" haha) and also about why we weren't having success. We concluded that we were focusing too much on the key indicators and doing it to please our leaders instead of giving more throttle by raising our faith and commitment to invite people to Christ. Then we went up to get Stephanie to come to a lesson with Bella, which fell through, but on the plus side, she did text us and in the process say she's been reading the Book of Mormon and still wants to meet. So we stopped by Natalie, who still wasn't home, and tried to see Ines in the hospital, but it turned out she'd been discharged, so we had supper and then went back to knock for the rest of the evening. We had a really great conversation with this one guy where I followed along with all of his super long-winded monologues in French and managed to still really help him understand our message, but he wasn't interested in the end.
On Sunday we had church, and we had to come early to fill the baptismal font for Joshua. It was really nice to have a hand in helping him get baptized, even though he's only 7 and probably would have been baptized anyways without our help. In the very least, his mom is super, SUPER busy and does a lot for the ward, so it was nice to take a lot of the planning off her. So we had church, which was basically like, "Mothers are so great! Motherhood is wonderful!" "I'm all alone and can't even hold children!" haha. We then had Joshua's baptism and confirmation after church, and a lot of their non-member family and friends came and we showed the Restoration while he was getting changed, so that was awesome. After that, the Elders wanted to finish the church tour, and then we stopped by Joshua's for the get-together they were having to meet their non-member family and friends, and also to get the only food we'd get that day. After that, we had to speed all the way to Salisbury for a less-active visit. Sister Lewis' recent convert seems to move to and from Moncton and Fredericton along with Sister Lewis, and she's kind of off-and-on with the church. Recently she's been off, but she messaged Sister Lewis on Facebook seeing we should come see her some time, so of course we went. So that was a good visit. We didn't get to teach much because she's felt really pressured in the past and so we needed to just kind of re-build some trust and friendship there. Then we drove back, and had enough time to check on a couple of referrals before skyping, which was awesome.
Sister Olson

A really cool sunset we saw while knocking on Tuesday:

Sister Lewis and I both have the same self-aware sense of humour about being emotional, so this is us getting hot chocolate and a picture she drew while she felt sick weekly planning:

Also a picture of Joshua Leger's baptism :)

More pictures from Sister Vera this time:

No comments:

Post a Comment